Editing, post-processing, whatever you want to call it: some people love it, some people hate it, some people are fortunate enough to work with professional retouchers, and some people just don't know where to start. There are a few businesses out there who are seeking to unite those people who feel frustrated or flummoxed by the editing process with people who can work post-processing magic, and the newest one is Spruced up! Spruced up! was founded by Rob Willingham, who used to work with photographer Rankin, and the Spruced up! team seem to be an experienced bunch, having worked on campaigns for the likes of Christian Dior and Calvin Klein and been let near photos of the Queen and Kate Moss. They're looking to provide a complete editing package for users, from simple enhancements to total overhauls.
Each image incurs a £2.49 handling fee, with simple changes—for example exposure tweaks, black and white conversions, and sharpening or softening—priced at 49p a go, rising to 99p for cosmetic changes (tooth whitening, nail colour alterations, for example), £1.99 for removals, and ending at £12.99 for a full make-over. You check out the menu and price list here.
This isn't the first time that we've looked at editing out-sourcing options. Our conclusion now isn't that much different from our conclusion then: it's not for us. It doesn't really matter if the resulting photos are good, bad, or indifferent, but that but that processing our images ourselves is important to us. It ensures that we realise our own creative visions and intentions, rather than placing them into the hands of others.
Sure, post-processing can be tricky and tiresome, but at £2.98 for a black-and-white conversion or an exposure fix, I'd be inclined to suggest that learning a few key adjustments in a free editing package such as Pixlr or Aviary (which is built in to Flickr) would be a relatively pain-free and definitely cheaper alternative. But a bit of Stalinesque airbrushing at £4.48 a time isn't too bad. If you're not in regular need of re-writing history, and don't therefore have the processing package or prowess, it makes sense to send your photos to someone who's more talented and less frustrated by the procedure, to do it for you. And that's where Spruced up! comes in.
If you've a digital copy of a vintage print that you'd like tidied up, that can be done, too.